Vanguard Buys Former Centene Campus for $117M

Years after an ambitious development was scrapped, the new owner will give this property a second life.

The development of Centene’s Charlotte headquarters was supposed to cost $1 billion. Image courtesy of Centene Corp.

Financial services powerhouse Vanguard has purchased Centene’s former office campus in Charlotte, N.C. The asset changed hands for $117 million and Vanguard financed the acquisition with a $96.4 million self-financed loan, public records show.

The 700,000-square-foot property located in the University City neighborhood will serve as the new site of Vanguard’s regional/satellite office in Charlotte. The company has more than 2,400 employees in the region, including personnel in financial advice, sales, information technology, human resources and client service.

The new, 91-acre campus is at 2405 Governor Hunt Road, near the Charlotte Blue Line rail link, and is expected to open in 2025. Amenities include dedicated collaboration spaces, a conference center, a full-service cafeteria, outdoor eating and walking areas, EV charging stations and a fitness center.

READ ALSO: Uncovering Regional Disparities in Remote Work

The property has had a troubled history, which is perhaps not surprising, given its timing.

In July 2020, St. Louis–based health-care administration company Centene Corp. chose Charlotte as the site of a new 1 million-square-foot East Coast headquarters. At the time, the project reportedly represented a $1 billion investment.

Slated to come online in four phases, the campus would have ultimately comprised office space, a data center and Centene’s corporate learning and development center. Ground was broken in 2021, but construction stopped after about a year, even though the development was largely complete by then.

By May 2023, with remote work becoming the norm for many large companies and work on the project at a halt, Centene abandoned it and tapped Cushman & Wakefield to market the property for sale.

Post-pandemic doldrums

The metro Charlotte office market is seeing leasing activity slowly recovering from the 2019–2020 drought, though still well below pre-pandemic levels, according to a fourth-quarter report from Avison Young. Investment sales volume, however, continued to fall. Overall direct and sublease availability edged up to an average of 24.5 percent.

This past November, Perkins Fund LP acquired a 107,545-square-foot office building in Charlotte from AEW Capital Management. The five-story Three Water Ridge is in the 11-building Water Ridge Office Park and was fully occupied by Walmart at that time. Notably, the building sold for just $15 million, less than half its previous, 2016 price of $35 million.

You May Also Like